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Essays, as used by Wikiafripedia editors, typically contain advice or opinions of one or more Wikiafripedia contributors. The purpose of an essay is to aid or comment on the encyclopedia but not on any unrelated causes. Essays have no official status, and do not speak for the Wikiafripedia community as they may be created and edited without overall community oversight. Following the instructions or advice given in an essay is optional. There are currently about 2,000 essays on a wide range of Wikiafripedia-related topics.

About essays[edit source | edit]

Although essays are not policies or guidelines, many are worthy of consideration. Policies and guidelines cannot cover all circumstances. Consequently many essays serve as interpretations of or commentary on perceived community norms for specific topics and situations. The value of an essay should be understood in context, using common sense and discretion. Essays can be written by anyone and can be long monologues or short theses, serious or funny. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. An essay, as well as being useful, can potentially be a divisive means of espousing a point of view. Although an essay should not be used to create an alternative rule set, the Wikiafripedia community has historically tolerated a wide range of Wikiafripedia related subjects and viewpoints on user pages.

The difference between policies, guidelines, and some essays on Wikiafripedia may be obscure. Essays vary in popularity and how much they are followed and referred to. Editors should defer to official policies or guidelines when essays, information pages or template documentation pages are inconsistent with established community standards and principles.

Avoid "quoting" essays as though they are policy—including this explanatory supplement page. Essays, information pages and template documentation pages can be written without much—if any—debate, as opposed to Wikiafripedia policies that have been thoroughly vetted by the community (see WAP:Local consensus for details). In Wikiafripedia discussions, editors may refer to essays provided that they do not hold them out as general consensus or policy. Proposals for new guidelines and policies require discussion and a high level of consensus from the entire community for promotion. See Wikiafripedia:How to contribute to Wikiafripedia guidance and Wikiafripedia:Policy writing is hard for more information.

Essays are located in the Wikiafripedia namespace (e.g., Wikiafripedia:Reasonability rule) and in User namespaces (e.g., User:Tony1/Beginners' guide to the Manual of Style). The Help namespace contains pages which provide factual (usually technical) information on using Wikiafripedia and its software (see below). The {{Essay}}-family templates (with several variants like {{Notability essay}} and {{WikiProject advice}}), versus the {{Guideline}} (and variants, like {{MoS guideline}}) and {{Policy}} templates give an indication of a page's status within the community. Some essays at one time were proposed policies or guidelines, but they could not gain consensus overall; as indicated by the template {{Failed proposal}}. Other essays that at one time had consensus, but are no longer relevant, are tagged with the template {{Historical}}. Current essay policy nominations are indicated by the banner {{Proposed}}. See Wikiafripedia:Template messages/Wikiafripedia namespace for a listing of namespace banners.

Types of essays[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia namespace essays[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Wikiafripedia:Project namespace#Essay_pages

Essays in the Wikiafripedia namespace – which are never to be put in the main (encyclopedia article) namespace – typically address some aspect of working in Wikiafripedia. They have not been formally adopted as guidelines or policies by the community at large, but typically edited by the community. Some are widely accepted as part of the Wikiafripedia gestalt, and have a significant degree of influence during discussions (like "guideline supplements" WAP:Tendentious editing, WAP:Bold, revert, discuss cycle, and WAP:Competence is required).

Many essays, however, are obscure, single-author pieces. Essays may be moved into userspace as user essays

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. Miscellany for deletion (WAP:MFD) is one process that can be used by Wikiafripedians to decide what should be done with problematic pages in the namespaces which aren't covered by other specialized deletion discussion areas. Items sent here are usually discussed for seven days; then they are either deleted by an administrator or kept (sometimes with modifications, which may include moving or merging), based on community consensus as evident from the discussion, consistent with policy, and with careful judgment of the rough consensus if required. Pages which are not specifically being posted for deletion can also be moved through the requested moves (WAP:RM) process.
  2. Two examples are "WAP:Don't be a dick" and "WAP:Don't feed the divas", replaced by the heavily revised WAP:Don't be a jerk and WAP:Don't be high-maintenance, respectively, after too many incivility complaints. Conversely, an attempt to replace the rather stern WAP:Give 'em enough rope with a much more mild-toned "WAP:Let the tiger show its stripes" was rejected by consensus, and the latter eventually deleted as redundant. Some essays, like WAP:Advice for hotheads, are intentionally written with such history in mind, and are worded to not offend and to advise against using them in attempts to offend.